Accurate Miniatures 1/48 P-51B/C Mustang Kit First Look
|Date of Review||April 2009 (Updated July 2011)||Manufacturer||Accurate Miniatures|
|Kit Number||0012||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy build||Cons||Inaccurate wheel wells, poor instructions|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
There are a number of write-ups on the history of this famous aircraft. You can read one here.
The history of the Tuskegee Airmen is a story that very powerful indeed. With the American Civil War less than 80 years in the past and the resulting abolishment of slavery, segregation and discrimination was still part of the American culture in many parts of the country in the early 20th century. Even the US military in the days leading into World War Two, African Americans were not only segregated, but it was the common belief of the time that they were incapable of performing complex duties such as flying a combat aircraft.
To make the point once a for all, a flight training program was established Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama. The experiment backfired and numerous qualified pilots began to flow out of the program. Despite attempts to halt that flow, the all-black 332nd Fighter Group was established in North Africa and these men were finally in the fight.
The history and exploits of these American heroes can fill some large volumes, but their story underscores that the price of success wasn't to do as well as other pilots in the USAAF, they had to do it better. Their distinctive red-tailed fighters became an almost guarantee that any bomber being escorted by the 332nd would make it back home safely.
While there were claims that the 332nd never lost a bomber that they escorted, the fact is that this fighter group had one of the lowest loss rates for escorted bombers of any group in the war. It was thanks to these brave men that fought not only the axis powers, but also this country's tolerance of discrimination and segregation that led us to a much better world today.
I remember when Bill Bosworth of the 'first' Accurate Miniatures released this kit. This tooling was one of the best P-51B/C kits on the market and despite a similar release from Tamiya, this tooling still holds its own.
The kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on four parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. You'll see a few parts that don't really belong there such as the three-bladed propeller, but Bill and his team designed this kit to maximize the tooling investment from their earlier Allison-powered Mustangs. After all, what is a P-51B but a Merlin-powered P-51A.
Like the Tamiya kit, this tooling does share one bug that plagues nearly every Mustang kit on the market - boxed-in wheel wells. What Tamiya did get wrong and Accurate got right was the cockpit floor.
I've build a number of these kits (here's one) and this is one of those kits that simply falls together. Bill's folks really did magic with their Mustangs!
What kind of features/options are inside this box?
- Nicely detailed cockpit
- Choice of Packard Merlin exhaust stacks
- Choice of 'standard' canopy or Malcolm hood (Malcolm hood is positionable, the standard canopy can only be posed closed)
- Optional drop tanks
The flight control surfaces are all molded in the neutral position. The 'third' (current) Accurate Miniatures had previously announced that this kit would feature a new wing with positionable flaps and improved wheel wells, but clearly that didn't happen. Styrene-wise, this is the same kit released by Bill.
What is new in this box are the decals. Markings are provided for four aircraft:
- P-51B/C, 72, 332 FG, 'Ina The Macon Belle', as flown by 1Lt Lee Archer
- P-51B/C, 10, 332 FG, 'Lollipoop', as flown by 1Lt Spurgeon Ellington
- P-51B/C, 66, 332 FG, 'By Request', as flown by Col Benjamin O. Davis
- P-51B/C, 1, 332 FG, 'Skipper's Darling III', as flown by Capt Andrew Turner
The decals provide the national markings, distinctive and personal markings, and a nice set of maintenance stencils.
You'll want to check your references before using these markings as some of the color call-outs are 'interesting' as are some of the typos that accompany the color profiles. You'll note that three of the four aircraft have the yellow ID bands under the wings in the side profiles, but are not reflected in the top or bottom profiles. In short, check your references.
It's nice to see this kit back on the market at a decent price and with some nice markings to boot.
Thanks to Accurate Miniatures for this review sample!